BTW News Briefs

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    Joseph-Beth Founder Outbid for Remaining Stores

    Plans by Joseph-Beth Booksellers founder Neil Van Uum to retain ownership of the chain’s remaining bookstores in Lexington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and a health-themed Joseph-Beth in Cleveland were undercut by a bid from the management of The Mall at Lexington Green, according to a report today in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The paper noted that the mall ownership surprised Van Uum by pulling its financial support at the 11th hour and making a bid itself during Wednesday’s bankruptcy auction.

    “My main concern was making sure the stores wouldn’t liquidate,” Van Uum told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “I put together enough money to beat the liquidators, but (Robert Langley of the mall management company) kept coming, and I couldn’t fight him off any longer.”

    Gordon Brothers, a liquidator company, was the top bidder for both the Joseph-Beth store in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis, Tennessee, Van Uum said, adding that the Joseph-Beth in Fredericksburg, Virginia, would become a Books-A-Million, according to the paper.

    A hearing seeking approval of the auction results is scheduled for April 27 at bankruptcy court in Lexington.

    BookExpo America Introduces Signature Events

    BookExpo America officials this week announced plans to highlight a handful of major authors on its newly named Insight Stages (formerly the Author Stages) at appearances that been branded as Signature Events.

    Each Signature Event will take place on the Uptown Stage and will last approximately 90 minutes. Authors will be introduced by their publishers and will speak for 15 - 20 minutes, and a Q & A with the audience is optional. A 60-minute autographing session will follow also at the Uptown Stage. Seating is free and limited to 150, on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets to receive an autograph will be distributed at the event.

    Featured authors are Charles Frazier, John Lithgow, Michael Moore, Jane Lynch, and Jane Fonda.

    Scroll to New York Times Editor Rebuts Picture Book Article

    On April 13, the New York Times Opinion Pages featured a letter from teacher/librarian Lynne Sundstrom of Birch Lane Elementary School in Davis, California, that was accompanied by a 15-foot-long scroll to the editor. The scroll was signed by 388 students, parents and other relatives, teachers and staff members who took exception to the October 2011 Times article “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children.”

    In response to the article, Birch Lane had designated February as “Love a Picture Book Month,” during which its 600 students read more than 4,590 picture books. The month was capped by an evening celebration for families, which drew more than 250 people.

    The scroll was a first for the Times, which said, “We’ve received all kinds of mail in the past: books, manuscripts, CDs, even a hostile brick to the editor. Perhaps editors in ancient times received scrolls all the time – but not us.”

    Poll Finds Most Americans Oppose Banning Books of Any Kind

    A new Harris Poll, conducted by Harris Interactive in March 2011, has found that 56 percent of Americans think no books should be banned completely. Fewer than one in five (18 percent) say there are books that should be banned, and a quarter of those surveyed said they are not sure about book banning.

    The survey, which also looked at the influence of socio-economic levels and political philosophy, on support for book banning, asked participants whether they in favor of changing the word “nigger” to “slave” every time it appears in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Only 13 percent said they support the change, and 77 percent said they oppose it, with six in 10 respondents (59 percent) saying they strongly opposing it.

    The full results of the survey are available on

    Ingram and Recorded Books Partner for Downloadable Audio Offering

    Ingram Content Group and Recorded Books this week announced a new content distribution agreement that will combine Recorded Books’ inventory of more than 10,000 bestsellers, mysteries, histories, nonfiction, and children’s titles in multiple languages with Ingram’s e-audio inventory as well as select publisher e-audio content stored in CoreSource®, Ingram’s digital asset management platform. The new product will be available in the second quarter of 2011.

    “Digital audiobooks have rapidly gained in popularity over the last few years due to the widespread availability of devices and the convenience,” said David “Skip” Prichard, president and CEO, Ingram Content Group. “We are thrilled to collaborate with audiobook leader Recorded Books to expand the availability of e-audio to listeners worldwide while simultaneously helping publishers and libraries deliver more content to more readers in more formats.”

    Libraries will have access to title selections for their patrons through Recorded Books’ OneClickdigital™ platform.

    Winners of 2011 Pulitzer Prizes Announced

    The winners of the 2011 Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday, April 18.

    This year’s winners in the categories of “Letters, Drama, and Music” are:

    • Fiction: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Alfred A. Knopf)
    • Drama: Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris
    • History: The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner (W. W. Norton & Company)
    • Biography: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow (Penguin Press)
    • Poetry: The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan (Grove Press)
    • General Nonfiction: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner)
    • Music: Madame White Snake by Zhou Long, premiered on February 26, 2010 by Opera Boston at the Cutler Majestic Theatre

    The prizes, administered by Columbia University, were also awarded to a variety of newspapers “and were not concentrated in the hands of one or two publications, as has been the case in recent years,” according to the New York Times.

    SIBA Names 2011 Book Award Finalists

    The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced the finalists for the 2011 SIBA Book Awards, recognizing books from last year that Southern indie booksellers especially loved and most enjoyed putting into the hands of their customers.

    Twenty-four titles were chosen by bookseller vote out of a nominee list of more than 100 books, in the categories of Children’s, Young Adult, Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction, and Cooking.

    The finalists will be judged by a jury of SIBA booksellers, and winners will be announced in July during the week of Independence Day. Winners and finalists will be honored in September, in Charleston, South Carolina, at SIBA Trade Show.